David Frost 74….hmmm.
I actually remember That Was The Week That Was. I suppose I was 11 years old. It was late night Saturday viewing and as I recall “open ended”.
Live TV certainly.
A stock company which included singers David Kernan, Milicent Martin…and actors, William Rushton, Lance Percival, Kenneth Cope, Roy Kinnear and others.
Certainly I was 11 years old, when Milicent sang that song about Kennedys assassination. On reflection that MADE TWTWTW more than Bernard Levin getting punched or frankie Howerd or the disapproval of the McMillan Government.
It was late night TV…adult…and yet the only time I can recall my father disaproving was a Kinnear- Martin acted sketch about Contraception.
And for the most part, I recall that a live show in front of a live audience, things can and DO go wrong. There was a certain look of fear in all the actors. Some sketches fell flat. No laughs. No applause.
Frost was the ringmaster….and really no more than a 24 year old posh Oxbridge graduate…a bit smarmy, even then.
Peter Cook claimed that the idea for a late night satire show was his.
Perhaps the most telling quote about Frost is from Peter Cook.
He claimed (truthfully) that he had saved David Frost from drowning….and that he would always regret it. Aparently this was a joke.
While TV satire and comedy went in one direction…Monty Python and The Goodies (on a show they gave frost a medal for Plagiarism)….Frost went in another direction. The TV Talk Show or the Frost Report.
Memorably for a Norn Iron perspective a Sunday night Frost Show was about the Civil Rights Movement and featured John Hume.
Thats the frustrating thing about David Frost. He was a satirist, a hard-hitting interviewer, a soft interviewer, a quasi anti-Establishment figure from the 1960s who became extremely Establishment …and mega rich.
And of course the sheer campness and awfulness of “Thru The Keyhole” featuring A-list celeb Frost and some B-list celebs on a panel, looking at the houses of C-list celebs.
Of course, if Frost was really “anti-establishment” he would never have had a BBC career in the first place. BBC likes to hire people like Dara O’Briain, Hugh Dennis and Ian Hislop to say occasionally rude things…but basically they are absorbed into mainstream Establishment. Be consistently anti-establishment like Frankie Boyle and youre not on BBC.
Was the highlight of Frosts career really interviewing Richard Nixon about Watergate?
Or was it….being played by Michael Sheen…in a movie about that event?
Hard to really disentangle the professional broadcaster…was he the first TELEVISION broadcaster who had no connexion to Newspapers or Radio.
As the Usual Suspects at the Beeb clamour to sing his praises….why is it that I just didnt like him very much?